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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 9th, '12, 18:20 
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Yeah, ICs in general don't usually just fail. (Electrolytic caps fail obviously)
Its normally static or over voltage or underrated parts or solder joints or PCB failing (dendritic growth, corrosion, etc) heat, blah blah blah..

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 9th, '12, 20:06 
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SuperVeg wrote:
Yeah, ICs in general don't usually just fail.


Makes me want to break out into a "When I were a lad" speech...
IC's used to fail all the time, they are _waayyyy_ better now, in fact when a circuit goes wrong the IC is usually the last thing you suspect.

Early 6502's - buy one get one free, you needed the free one 'cos only one would work.
And I'm semi-serious about that :)

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 10th, '12, 07:00 
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Well you're the experienced one in the "early ICs" department
Ive only been in the industry for the last 5-6 years :D

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 10th, '12, 09:16 
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Still trying to find time to read all the forum members 555 solutions.

Stumbled across this link, maybe the techno savy folks can cut thru what we don't need and boil down the relevant info to build a variable timer for aquaponics;

http://www.sentex.net/~mec1995/gadgets/555/555.html

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 10th, '12, 10:48 
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I wonder if someone would care to look for the cheapest micro dev board, including programmer.
If its really cheap, everyone could use it and people who can code can share it with others...
Something with a USB programmer would be the best probably

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 10th, '12, 11:24 
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SuperVeg wrote:
I wonder if someone would care to look for the cheapest micro dev board, including programmer.
If its really cheap, everyone could use it and people who can code can share it with others...
Something with a USB programmer would be the best probably


Excellent idea!
I was curious about exactly what PICAxe is and so Googled it quite a bit the last couple of days.
They do a starter kit for something like 29.99USD
Probably cost that for a decent digital mains timer switch.

I think I paid around 3000 Baht ($100) for my latest pic dev kit, but for that you get a 16-bit dev board and a PIC Kit-3 (Programmer and in circuit Debugger) which programs the whole PIC family.
I think the whole idea of open source development is great.

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 10th, '12, 12:25 
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I paid $100 for a TI ARM Cortex M3 dev board with built in USB JTAG debugger and it could also be used as a JTAG. The chip has DMA and all nice fancy stuff. Really nice dev board with LCD and H-Bridge driven piezo speaker and other stuff.
Nice driver library too....
But that is WAY overkill for this application.

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 10th, '12, 12:44 
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DuiNui wrote:
SuperVeg wrote:
I wonder if someone would care to look for the cheapest micro dev board, including programmer.
If its really cheap, everyone could use it and people who can code can share it with others...
Something with a USB programmer would be the best probably


Excellent idea!
I was curious about exactly what PICAxe is and so Googled it quite a bit the last couple of days.
They do a starter kit for something like 29.99USD
Probably cost that for a decent digital mains timer switch.

I think I paid around 3000 Baht ($100) for my latest pic dev kit, but for that you get a 16-bit dev board and a PIC Kit-3 (Programmer and in circuit Debugger) which programs the whole PIC family.
I think the whole idea of open source development is great.


There is a big price difference between a PICAXE reseller and the PICAXE sites prices. You might be able to get the other places to price match, if you want to buy locally.

This device is probably a good place to start. I havnt bought one because I was given a whole stack of stuff (thanks pete) but it hasome inputs and outputs to learn how everything works and only costs 20$.

They also have good pricec (compared to my local electronics shop) for a lot of other things like chip holder clip things for 4 cents instead of 60 cents



I dont think that kit comes with a programmer cable as its sold to schools who already have them, so you would need to buy a cable as well. The USB cable has some electronics in that translate the usb to serial, so you do actually need to buy one of theirs.

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 10th, '12, 20:05 
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SuperVeg wrote:
I paid $100 for a TI ARM Cortex M3 dev board with built in USB JTAG debugger and it could also be used as a JTAG. The chip has DMA and all nice fancy stuff. Really nice dev board with LCD and H-Bridge driven piezo speaker and other stuff.
Nice driver library too....
But that is WAY overkill for this application.


I did a small amount of research into the M3 dev. However not knowing anyone that has used anything like it and not really having any idea about what it can do and how hard it is to learn i put it in the too hard/scary basket. Do you think it would be something with revisiting for a hobbyinst?

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 11th, '12, 02:38 
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rsevs3 wrote:
I did a small amount of research into the M3 dev. However not knowing anyone that has used anything like it and not really having any idea about what it can do and how hard it is to learn i put it in the too hard/scary basket. Do you think it would be something with revisiting for a hobbyinst?


I think it's hard to go wrong with most of these Dev boards, but as SV says, some of them might be overkill for hobby/AP type projects.

One of the reasons PIC is so popular, is that the family is huge, and to upgrade from the smallest one to the biggest one requires very little effort.

I'm gonna start a "Low cost digital mains timer" thread tomorrow, based on the 16F84A, I need one for my micro system anyway.
Total cost should be around 3-5 Euros and be do-able by anyone with a soldering iron and an IQ higher than Bacon.
Mmmm Bacon.

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 11th, '12, 03:27 
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Yeah i imagine they would be overkill for AP type systems, but i have an interest in automation and robotics and some of the processing power can be very handy for image processing etc (not that i have any idea about it :))

I have been running the whole 'AP overlord controller' thing in my head with mains timers, data logging, auto feeder, level sensors, display etc. I would like to make it a platform that everyone can contribute to and the choice of MC will be fairly key in that. Picaxe is easy to learn but is limited in power, PIC is harder to learn but has plenty of power, propeller has plenty of power and 8 cores making timing problems near to non-existant but has its own language. What to do... what to do... Although i imagine this is a discussion for another thread.

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 11th, '12, 03:54 
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rsevs3 wrote:
What to do... what to do... Although i imagine this is a discussion for another thread.


I think a PIC16F877 is more than capable of running an AP system, it's 200,000 times more powerful than the computer that took Apollo 13 to the moon :)
It has loads of I/O, 8 channel A to D, plenty of program space and RAM, built in EEProm, etc. etc. etc.
There are many different options available, I've been using PIC's since they were made by General Instruments, I think they are perfect for low complexity solutions.

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 11th, '12, 06:33 
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I agree with everybody :)

PIC is as DuiNui says great for simple stuff (simple being quite diverse, BTW)
A few caveats with them but when you use a C compiler you dont really see that.
PICs also have tons of features and they really cater for the hobbiest, trying to fit in all the features into one chip.

Regarding the M3, if you are writing to a decent sized LCD or other things that require large data transfers, something like this is ideal with its DMA functionality. Very fast micro, very capable. Can run linux etc on it.

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 Post subject: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 11th, '12, 20:23 
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Pic, hands down. But I'd never bother with a micro again.
Plcs and programmable relays are getting too cheap.

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 11th, '12, 20:31 
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PLCs and programmable relays are good for what they are designed to do, but are significantly limited in their functionality compared to a micro....
That's why micros exist, they are the ultimate general purpose smarts you can customise anyway you can possibly image.

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